Hollywood Techies Not Amused By MPAA's Analog Hole Plugging Plan

from the scratch-that dept

We’ve already pointed out that the concept of “plugging the analog hole” was originally a joke that techies used to show how pointless the entertainment industry’s infatuation with copy protection was. However, leave it to the industry to misplace its sense of humor and figure that this analog hole thing was a real problem — and one that needed a legislative solution. Given how silly the concept is — especially with the ridiculous security by obscurity method being proposed — you might wonder how the actual techies (rather than lawyers and lobbyists) in the entertainment industry would respond. The answer, it would appear, is not well at all. John points us to a story about the MPAA presenting its analog hole attack plan to Hollywood techies at a conference, only to see them recoil in something akin to horror at the prospects. There was an awful lot of concern over how consumers would be “educated” on this matter (since the current education plans are working so well) — which the MPAA representative dismissed as a problem for retailers. Then came the final “question” which pretty much sums up the situation: “This is a room full of people whose living depends on this working. You’re getting pushback to the point of hostility. If you can’t sell this to us, how are you going to sell it to the target 16-45 demographic?” The MPAA rep’s response? “The marketplace would ultimately sort it out.” As Jason Schultz points out in the link above, the “marketplace” has made it pretty clear they’re not interested in products that let them do a lot less than they’re used to in the past and that restrict people from doing what they want with content they thought they bought.

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Comments on “Hollywood Techies Not Amused By MPAA's Analog Hole Plugging Plan”

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Tom Gordon (profile) says:

Plugging the Analogue Hole

It struck me this morning that tech companies could be on to a winner with the analogue hole. If legislation requires every device to honour instructions from content owners, there’s nothing stopping the device manufacturers from implementing this – and then requiring the content owners to license the right to use the embedded code that honours the content protection, and simply not displaying anything that has content protection but hasn’t been licensed for display.

Sort of like the DVD license, but in reverse. This would mean content owners (like the MPAA’s members) would have to obtain a seperate license from each device manufacturer to ensure their content is protected. The device manufacturers still implement the requirements, since not all analogue content will be ‘protected’.

I’m not sure how content owners would react if their content couldn’t actually be displayed, especially if this was implemented by some of the larger device manufacturers.

In short, device makers say ‘we will honour content blocking in analogue signals, but we will block all such content unless you pay us a license fee to display your protected content.’

Proper says:

Re: Re: Bring back amateur theatre...

Yea, I agree. Back to community theater. And maybe a cottage DVD or PC based entertainment industry will totally make hollywood irrelvant. They had there day. Now it’s just a pathetic re-hash.

I remember funnier, more adult stand-up in high school AV class than what the networks can produce.

Anyhow, given this trend, electronics could become the next pharmacutical industry. All sales will occur in Canada and Mexico. Ha ha ha. I think it’s funny. I can see them pulling this off. Clearly we have a bunch of sells outs in Washington…

Really, all of this stuff just hurts the poorist and usually the least tech-savvy consumers. The more apt people are able to bypass, engineer and reconfigure.

It started with the V chip, where will it end?

lar3ry says:

Why ask why?

MPAA asks for stupid legislation. Stupid legislators make stupid legislation. Public gets screwed. Public produces an uproar.

High-visibility site will go online (well advertised via word of mouth, IM, blogs, etc.) that lists name, home state, party affiliation, and the re-election date for each stupid legislator that voted for closing the analog hole. Public votes “none of the above” and short-sighted congresspeople are expelled.

Legislators realize that they’ve screwed themselves by bending over for the MPAA, and the next time the MPAA wants some stupid legislation passed, people will remember what happened to the last idiots that listened.


In your dreams. Didn’t work for the last Stupid Legislation (DMCA). Probably won’t work for this one.

Why is it that Intellectual Property is being claimed by people without any intelligence or real property???

“Hey! You can’t drink that! That soda is mine!”

“But I just bought this soda from you yesterday!”

“Yeah, but I didn’t sell you a license to drink it today. We’re suing you now.”


“Of course, we’ll settle for a one-time payment of $25,000, as long as you sign this agreement in which you promise not to drink my soda except on the day you purchase it…”

acousticiris (user link) says:

The marketplace will certainly sort it out . . .

Just as the marketplace sorted out the problem of the lack of availability of digital music downloads by creating Napster, and the way the market sorted out the problem of not being able to watch a full length DVD on a laptop because of battery constraints by providing solutions like DVD Decrypter.
Or how the market originally sorted out the high price of CDs by making devices that let you just copy them to tapes to give to your friends.

It’s the marketplace “sorting things out” that seems to ultimately be against the entertainment industry because the entertainment industry tends to do whatever it can to be at odds with the market.
My prediction is that the next-gen formats will simply fail because of this. My mom and dad are not buying new televisions when the old ones work just fine with their nice DVD/VHS player.
And with the cash I just dropped on a nice HDTV a year ago (one without an HDCP compatible input), I’m not planning on dropping cash just so I can get some extra lines of resolution on “Tommy Boy”.

If these folks knew anything about “the marketplace” they’d understand that it’s incredibly difficult to actually *bring* a product to market and make it successful. Bring that product to market requiring folks to plop down thousands of dollars to reap the benefits and you can expect that your “new fangled High-Def DVD discs” will ultimately become the item upon which your customers set their beer while watching a traditional DVD.

Michael says:

No Subject Given

I’m just going to be a dick and point out that the “analog hole” was not originally a joke. The “joke” you refer to was in response to the MPAA raising the “analog hole” issue in the first place.

(Although who suggested it to the MPAA… I’m not certain. I believe they came up with it on their own, but there could have been ANOTHER joke that predates the MPAA material that predates the joke Mike mentioned… it’s so deep!)

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

The problem with letting the market sort it out is that an effective market requires a certain level of knowledge on the part of consumers. Consumers have to understand the relative value of items as well as the benefits and/or drawbacks of specific features. As a) the pace of technological progress increases, and b) the content sales/marketing industry (because true content creators usually aren’t dicks about it) increaes it’s “educational” efforts, people are less likely to be informed about their choices. My mother’s a very smart woman; but she wouldn’t know what DRM is, whether it’s good or bad, and had to be talked out of buying a Divx player. For all the talk of public uproar, the uproar pretty much dies when it gets to boomers, as a good portion of them would gladly sell their souls for half price “Murder She Wrote – Season 5” DVDs. And there’s enough of them to make plenty of bad ideas profitable.

Frank J. Mattia says:

ive been saying this a lot recently but...

i’m hoping i dont look too much like some psycho prick…
i propose a new tv show. kinda like… pimp my ride.
but instead of viewers sending in videos of their shitty cars that they want fixed – they send in videos of shitty assholes who deteriorate society faster than they can spend their money.
then, heres the best part, instead of showing up and taking their car and fixing it up. the camera crew shows up at – say, someone like Brad Hunts house and….
drags him out on the front lawn and shoot him in the face in front of his wife and children on live tv.
we could air it on primetime tv just like the executions in the islamic countries. it’ll be good for everyone. 🙂

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